Middlebury College Museum of Art

News & Events

International Beach Vacation Comes to Middlebury

May 5, 2014

Life’s a Beach
May 23—August 10, 2014

For immediate release: 4/21/14
For further information contact: Emmie Donadio, Chief Curator, at donadio@middlebury.edu or (802) 443-2240

Middlebury, VT— On Friday, May 23 the Middlebury College Museum of Art will celebrate the start of summer with the opening of Life’s a Beach. The exhibition features 53 photographs by British photographer Martin Parr and provides both broad views and close-ups of sunbathers across 19 countries. The show was organized by Aperture, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing photography via Aperture magazine, books, traveling exhibitions, and educational programs.

Noted for the anthropological focus to his documentary style of photography, Parr captures unflinching images of his subjects in an honest if not always flattering light. His work is revealing, but far from harsh. The truth he chooses to capture with his camera shows a humorous glimpse into the quirky aspects of humanity. Life’s a Beach displays the tanned and sweaty side of life and provides an international look at sunbathers across the globe, from Argentina to Australia, Spain to Slovenia, China to Chile, and Italy to India to Indonesia.

Parr began his beach photography in the 1970s and published The Last Resort in 1986, a book of photography with an exclusive focus on British beachgoers at the New Brighton seaside resort. The photographer discovered that the eccentricities of his native British culture were vividly illustrated at the shore. His first beach book prompted him to travel internationally, photographing different beaches worldwide. Through his travels he concluded that the beach creates a unique venue for not just personal but also cultural expression across nations. As Parr describes it, “the beach is that rare public space in which all absurdities and quirky national behaviors can be found.”

Life’s a Beach illustrates these quirks and absurdities through the characteristically intimate images and brightly saturated colors of Parr’s photographs.The exhibitionwill be on view through Sunday, August 10.

The Middlebury College Museum of Art, located in the Mahaney Center for the Arts on Rte. 30 on the southern edge of campus, is free and open to the public Tues. through Fri. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sat. and Sun. from noon to 5 p.m. It is closed Mondays. The museum is physically accessible. Parking is available in the Mahaney Center for the Arts parking lot. For further information and to confirm dates and times of scheduled events, please call (802) 443–5007 or TTY (802) 443–3155, or visit the museum’s website at museum.middlebury.edu.